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To bubble or Not to Bubble?

This is a discussion on To bubble or Not to Bubble? within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Originally Posted by Byron Not direct links, it's just data I've absorbed over the years. I do know that the author of every article ...

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To bubble or Not to Bubble?
Old 10-24-2009, 09:42 PM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Not direct links, it's just data I've absorbed over the years. I do know that the author of every article and book on planted tanks that I've so far read has recommended low flow in planted aquaria. Ms. Walstad cites scientific studies that support that view, so I take it as correct until science proves different.

And light and other nutrients have to be kept in check because plants can't use light or CO2 or any other nutirent if there is a deficiency in one of these. Many writers say that light should be the limiting factor; Peter Hiscock goes into this in detail, and I read much the same in two articles during the past year on planted aquaria low-tech style in TFH and AFI. I've not yet seen any formulae.

I've not read that the "siesta" period with no lights helps plants, but rather it is recommended to discourage algae. Hiscock mentions this in his book, and again I've read it in several articles. Never tried it myself, as algae is not a problem and I'd rather not unsettle the fish with this when there is no need. You theory makes sense though, because many of the typical plants have more trouble taking carbon from carbonates whereas algae easily do this, so if CO2 is in short supply, algae have the advantage; but eliminating the light mid-day defeats this advantage.
we'll have to agree to disagree on the flow issue, i believe bad flow and resulting dead spots increase chances of algae growth as the plants in this area are more likely to get limited.

i agree, light should always be the limiting factor, in any planted tank.

yeah, i read the same about siesta a few times, "its to discourage algae" but never get a proper reason why this is so. the only thing that make sense is if algae is "discouraged" due to healthier plant growth because CO2 does not get as depleted.

which is why i was wandering about the surface movement.
this would also mean the co2 does not get depleted as it'll get taken in as fast as its used.
if the surface was still, then the gas exchange would not be as good so co2 levels would lower.
and would this benefit out way the small extra CO2 that may be there at the start of light period?
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:36 AM   #12
 
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we'll have to agree to disagree on the flow issue, i believe bad flow and resulting dead spots increase chances of algae growth as the plants in this area are more likely to get limited.

i agree, light should always be the limiting factor, in any planted tank.

yeah, i read the same about siesta a few times, "its to discourage algae" but never get a proper reason why this is so. the only thing that make sense is if algae is "discouraged" due to healthier plant growth because CO2 does not get as depleted.

which is why i was wandering about the surface movement.
this would also mean the co2 does not get depleted as it'll get taken in as fast as its used.
if the surface was still, then the gas exchange would not be as good so co2 levels would lower.
and would this benefit out way the small extra CO2 that may be there at the start of light period?
On the siesta idea, here are Peter Hiscock's words:

Plants are able to regulate the rate of photosynthesis relatively easily, and quickly respond to changes in light conditions. In other words, they do not take long to warm up and start photosynthesizing once there is sufficient light. However, algae are not as biologically advanced as plants and need a long and relatively uninterrupted period of light to function properly. It is possible to combat algae in the aquarium by controlling the intensity and period of lighting in the aquarium and creating a "siesta" period. ... If the aquarium receives 5-6 hours of lighting followed by 2-3 hours of darkness and then another 5-6 hours of light, the plants will be relatively unaffected and receive enough light throughout the day, but algae growth rates will be significantly reduced and may even start to die back. [Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants, p. 59]
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:23 AM   #13
 
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Ms. Walstad cites scientific studies that support that view, so I take it as correct until science proves different.
Why wait for science to prove such things, Byron? We have our tanks sat in front of us, and so many of these theories can be tested by us. Admittedly, measuring CO2 in a planted tank is beyond the means of most of us. I wonder whether Diana Walstad or Peter Hiscock have actually tested these theories. I only know of one test carried out in aquaria, and that test recorded a measurable rise in CO2 levels during the siesta.

As for the physiology of alga, and their reponses to light stimulation being slower than those of plants, I would have to question this. I observed a bloom of Rhizoclonium in one of my new tanks pearling before any of my plants. This is nothing conclusive, but it does put a dent in the theory for me.

How long ago was the Peter Hiscock book written? This hobby has moved on in leaps and bounds recently, and books can become very outdated with thinking that was logical for the time, but has now been largely superceded. Internet forums are far greater resource of information than most books. DWs book is largely an exception to this, and still remains a great resource to the hobby.

I don`t know of a great many people that induce algae in their tanks, and then take measures to defeat it. I don`t know whether Peter Hiscock has tried this. Understanding the causes gives us the best means of preventing the stuff and, if we fail to prevent it, we know what we did wrong and put it right.

Light is the first point of call, without a doubt. This is the engine that determines how fast our tanks grow, followed by CO2. Black outs work well with types of alga because they cannot hold nutrients in reserve like plants.

All of the respected, cutting edge planted tank forums recommend a high turnover of water to ensure that nutrients get to all four corners of the tank. Take a look at competition tanks in IAPLC and AGA for an idea of what the current thinking is for ferts and turnover. In a more complex scape I planted recently, I was struggling with Spirogyra, finding it impossible to shift without gassing my fish with CO2. This was about 10 months ago, and it was at this point that I was converted over to very high flow in my planted tanks, adding two Koralia 1 powerheads. With better distribution, the algae went away and I was able to reduce CO2 injection!

Dave.
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:45 AM   #14
 
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Why wait for science to prove such things, Byron? We have our tanks sat in front of us, and so many of these theories can be tested by us.

Dave.
If I had tanks as beautiful as Byron's, with so much time and money already invested, there is no way I would start using my tank as a science project. For the health of my fish and plants, I would stick with what is working.
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:47 AM   #15
 
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Why wait for science to prove such things, Byron? We have our tanks sat in front of us, and so many of these theories can be tested by us. Admittedly, measuring CO2 in a planted tank is beyond the means of most of us. I wonder whether Diana Walstad or Peter Hiscock have actually tested these theories. I only know of one test carried out in aquaria, and that test recorded a measurable rise in CO2 levels during the siesta.

As for the physiology of alga, and their reponses to light stimulation being slower than those of plants, I would have to question this. I observed a bloom of Rhizoclonium in one of my new tanks pearling before any of my plants. This is nothing conclusive, but it does put a dent in the theory for me.

How long ago was the Peter Hiscock book written? This hobby has moved on in leaps and bounds recently, and books can become very outdated with thinking that was logical for the time, but has now been largely superceded. Internet forums are far greater resource of information than most books. DWs book is largely an exception to this, and still remains a great resource to the hobby.

I don`t know of a great many people that induce algae in their tanks, and then take measures to defeat it. I don`t know whether Peter Hiscock has tried this. Understanding the causes gives us the best means of preventing the stuff and, if we fail to prevent it, we know what we did wrong and put it right.

Light is the first point of call, without a doubt. This is the engine that determines how fast our tanks grow, followed by CO2. Black outs work well with types of alga because they cannot hold nutrients in reserve like plants.

All of the respected, cutting edge planted tank forums recommend a high turnover of water to ensure that nutrients get to all four corners of the tank. Take a look at competition tanks in IAPLC and AGA for an idea of what the current thinking is for ferts and turnover. In a more complex scape I planted recently, I was struggling with Spirogyra, finding it impossible to shift without gassing my fish with CO2. This was about 10 months ago, and it was at this point that I was converted over to very high flow in my planted tanks, adding two Koralia 1 powerheads. With better distribution, the algae went away and I was able to reduce CO2 injection!

Dave.
I suggest you question Mr. Hiscock directly. He studied aquatic biiology at Sparsholt College, Hampshire, UK.

I control algae by good plant growth. It's worked for more than 15 years. If the tank's biological balance is there, algae won't take a hold. And I have sufficient water flow that does not provide currents beyond what is necessary. A planted tank aquarist on another forum noted that algae tends to first appear closest to the filter flow; I hadn't thought of this previously, but in my aquaria this is true, so that says something about flow. Fish (at least the ones I maintain) basically come from slow streams, ponds and lagoons, as do the plants. The best key to success is providing what they all need and nothing more.
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:56 AM   #16
 
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On the siesta idea, here are Peter Hiscock's words:

Plants are able to regulate the rate of photosynthesis relatively easily, and quickly respond to changes in light conditions. In other words, they do not take long to warm up and start photosynthesizing once there is sufficient light. However, algae are not as biologically advanced as plants and need a long and relatively uninterrupted period of light to function properly. It is possible to combat algae in the aquarium by controlling the intensity and period of lighting in the aquarium and creating a "siesta" period. ... If the aquarium receives 5-6 hours of lighting followed by 2-3 hours of darkness and then another 5-6 hours of light, the plants will be relatively unaffected and receive enough light throughout the day, but algae growth rates will be significantly reduced and may even start to die back. [Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants, p. 59]
thanks for your thoughts.

it'd be interesting to know if/how he actually tested that, or if it was a matter of observation and coming to a conclusion because of an effect.
do you not think if co2 was a limiting factor during the "test/observation" then it does not actually prove that algae is directly effected form the split period.


it'd be easy to test.
set up tank with 3wpg in a dark room and a 4 hour light period and if peter hiscock was correct then algae would not grow.
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Old 10-25-2009, 12:22 PM   #17
 
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thanks for your thoughts.

it'd be interesting to know if/how he actually tested that, or if it was a matter of observation and coming to a conclusion because of an effect.
do you not think if co2 was a limiting factor during the "test/observation" then it does not actually prove that algae is directly effected form the split period.


it'd be easy to test.
set up tank with 3wpg in a dark room and a 4 hour light period and if peter hiscock was correct then algae would not grow.
As I mentioned previously, the CO2 idea may be the reason it works. Whatever the reason, the fact is that shutting off the light for 2 hours does something that does not harm the plants but does harm algae. I have read elsewhere of aquarists who have been successful controlling difficult algae with this method. If I did have a problem with algae, I would certainly consider it, since it is not detrimental in the way that adding chemicals or various antibiotics to the tank can be. Maracyn for instance will rid a tank of cyanobacteria [I know, not a true algae, but a problem for some] but it also affects some plants rather severely. I used it to combat columnaris (which it did) but the pygmy swords all melted; they grew back in a few weeks, much as crypts do. The red leaved swords also melted down, but not the larger green swords. I don't believe in adding any chemicals or meds to a tank unless absolutely essential for the health of the fish.
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Old 10-25-2009, 01:13 PM   #18
 
ok.
it seems pretty strange that given all of the scientific "proof" my tank with,
well over 3wpg of T5,
12X times water flow,
"high" nitrates and phosphates,
and no siesta
so by rights i should have an algae farm should i not?
but there is no algae!
is it a miracle?
or is it that some of these old believes/methods were just misunderstood at the time?

and yes i know you have the exact opposite and no problems, but as you keep saying, you also have 15 years worth of knowledge and experience.

this is my first "proper" planted tank, but i have been constantly researching for over 6 months.
forums, web articles and books and a certain amount of experimentation.

when i had BGA (cyanobacteria) i INCREASED flow and did a black out, it went away.
when i got BBA, i made sure i did water top ups every other day so the surface agitation didnt get worse as the week went on and give me fluctuating CO2 levels, i got no more.
when i got hair algae i INCREASED nitrates and adjusted flow and it went away in a week.
green spot, i INCREASED phosphate dosing and after a scrape its not been back.

if i read something i want to know why, not just accept it.
its like using test kits, if i were to use them, i wouldn't believe them at all unless i'd calibrated them.
but most ppl will blindly trust them without calibration. why?
it seems some will just accept things at face value and not question.
until it comes to arguing over the "new" methods and beliefs, then the old sources are cited but again without question.
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Old 10-25-2009, 01:55 PM   #19
 
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ok.
it seems pretty strange that given all of the scientific "proof" my tank with,
well over 3wpg of T5,
12X times water flow,
"high" nitrates and phosphates,
and no siesta
so by rights i should have an algae farm should i not?
but there is no algae!
is it a miracle?
or is it that some of these old believes/methods were just misunderstood at the time?

and yes i know you have the exact opposite and no problems, but as you keep saying, you also have 15 years worth of knowledge and experience.

this is my first "proper" planted tank, but i have been constantly researching for over 6 months.
forums, web articles and books and a certain amount of experimentation.

when i had BGA (cyanobacteria) i INCREASED flow and did a black out, it went away.
when i got BBA, i made sure i did water top ups every other day so the surface agitation didnt get worse as the week went on and give me fluctuating CO2 levels, i got no more.
when i got hair algae i INCREASED nitrates and adjusted flow and it went away in a week.
green spot, i INCREASED phosphate dosing and after a scrape its not been back.

if i read something i want to know why, not just accept it.
its like using test kits, if i were to use them, i wouldn't believe them at all unless i'd calibrated them.
but most ppl will blindly trust them without calibration. why?
it seems some will just accept things at face value and not question.
until it comes to arguing over the "new" methods and beliefs, then the old sources are cited but again without question.
I don't see anything miraculous or out of the ordinary in what you've posted in the first para above about your tank. In a well-planted tank that is biologically balanced algae will not be a problem. The plants are obviously using the nutrients in balance with the light, and I recall you have CO2 addition (?). No mystery there.

I have algae, various species, in my tanks; most people do. It is not out of control, so it is not a problem. I do think I have been adding too many nutrients (liquid fert) of late, and I have gone from twice to once a week and that has made a difference. There is no need to be adding this and that if the aquarium is in balance.

My approach is simply different because I prefer to go with nature as much as I can and interfere as little as possible. I aim all this at the fish, first and foremost. The fish I maintain all come from fairly dim waters in terms of light; I therefore provide the minimal amount of light to enable the plants to grow. The fish also mostly come from quiet waters, so I keep the current minimal. I balance the light duration with the fishload for CO2, and add balanced nutrients because some of them will likely not be in the tap water or fish food. I have Echinodorus plants that are more than 10 years old. Obviously this works. And it is less expensive, and the tank is pleasing to look at, and the fish are behaving naturally, frequently spawning. And when the tried and true methods work, I see no reason to abort them. And I recommend this method to those beginning aquarists who want a planted tank but have been sometimes scared by all the fuss over light and CO2 and enriched substrates and so forth. It can be simple, and it should be simple; the less interference by the aquarist, the better the chance for success long-term because there is less to go wrong.
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Old 10-25-2009, 02:01 PM   #20
 
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I suggest you question Mr. Hiscock directly. He studied aquatic biiology at Sparsholt College, Hampshire, UK.
Does he frequent any forums? Some of the guys from Tropica, DW and Tom Barr are great for access.

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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
I control algae by good plant growth.
By far and away the best method! i just wish the principles involved were better understood.

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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
And I have sufficient water flow that does not provide currents beyond what is necessary.
Flow in a planted tank is very much a horses for courses thing. You clearly don`t need high flow, but you suggest your tanks are lower light. EI tanks generally benefit from higher turn over, so to say that planted tanks shouldn`t have high flow and no surface disturbance is too general a statement to make.

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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
A planted tank aquarist on another forum noted that algae tends to first appear closest to the filter flow; I hadn't thought of this previously, but in my aquaria this is true, so that says something about flow.
I have been in one or two discussions where this observation has been made, and by myself too. We didn`t, however, come to the conclusion that high flow was a bad idea. It seems likely that there are flow velocities where plants are inhibited from sequestering nutrients. Like many others, I have adjusted flow rates and directions around the tank to compensate for this.

Twistersmom, sorry but I am not sure what your post is about. No one is suggesting that fish be harmed in the pursuit of knowledge. I, however, am an inquisitive person who likes to question this hobby whenever I can. Years of experience doesn`t always count for a great deal.

EDIT: Byron, I am not questioning your approach to the way you run your tanks. With your light levels, I suspect that my approach would be virtually identical to yours. I just don`t agree with some of your blanket statements which are proved wrong by my high light EI tanks on a daily basis.

Last edited by Galvanize; 10-25-2009 at 02:06 PM..
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